From 70s house to sustainable designer home

In the Weert area of the Netherlands there are many houses dating from the 1970s. One house immediately catches your eye. With its sleek modern design, it looks as if it’s been plucked from another neighbourhood and set down on Prinsenhof. But nothing could be further from the truth. Architect Geert-Jan Kwaspen was commissioned to transform the existing 70s dwelling into a designer home that meets the sustainability requirements of 2020. He used Rockpanel to clad the house.

Renovation or new-build?

The sleek, white plastered facade and modern grey panels from Rockpanel give the house a luxurious and contemporary look. Why didn’t the client opt for a new-build instead? Kwaspen explains: ‘The client felt it was very important to know what his surroundings would be like: where the supermarket and school were, for example. You can’t be so sure about these things with a new construction project. In addition, the occupants live nice and close to the town centre where they are.’

Before the renovation:

After the renovation:

Wrapped house

The main aims of the renovation were to create more space for the occupants, and most importantly to make the house more sustainable. The house was previously heated only with radiators, and had no insulation. There was therefore a lot to be done to bring the house in line with the sustainability requirements of the future. The interior only needed slight adjustments, so Kwaspen decided to give the house an extra layer of wrapping. ‘We combined improving the aesthetics with the design of the technical systems. The pipes and ducts now lie between the existing brick facade and the new facade, as there was no space for them inside the house.’

Sustainable ventilation

An innovative solution was also found for the ventilation, says architect Kwaspen: ‘We installed mushrooms in the garden. From these, the ventilation supply is drawn through the ground for a distance of 25 metres. This means that the air is preheated or precooled by the ground temperature. It’s a very practical solution.’

Interplay of lines to create a harmonious result

The house was extended into the space formerly occupied by a covered terrace to create a large open kitchen. A new roof section was constructed at the rear of the house, creating a continuous line running via the roof and around the entire house.

The rear facade is finished with plain render that fits well with the appearance of the house. Kwaspen wanted to keep the house’s tight, modern lines, so he approached Rockpanel for cladding for the other facade in which the front door is situated. He was already familiar with Rockpanel, so he knew what was possible. Kwaspen: ‘To me, the biggest advantage is that it’s easy to work with and bonds almost seamlessly to the wall. On the roof are flat ceramic tiles whose colour is a perfect match for the Rockpanel panels. You really get the sense that the covered patio completely flows into the roof and down through the facade.’

A successful renovation project

Although the renovation may have been quite a challenge, Kwaspen looks back on it with great pleasure. The project took less than a year from application for planning to completion. This was partly due to smooth cooperation between all parties. The estate agent was actively involved, and the expertise of a consultant engineer was also invaluable for ensuring that the house met the standards of 2020. The client and architect were satisfied, and the Municipal Buildings Committee was very enthusiastic too. Kwaspen: ‘The various engineering installations turned the house into a real sustainability project. The Committee is very upbeat about the possibility of improving other old houses like this in every respect. This house proves that you really can create something beautiful from them.’